The exponential increase in the submission of nucleotide sequences to the nucleotide sequence database by genome sequencing centres has resulted in a need for rapid, automatic methods for classification of the resulting protein sequences. There are several signature and sequence cluster-based methods for protein classification, each resource having distinct areas of optimum application owing to the differences in the underlying analysis methods. In recognition of this, InterPro was developed as an integrated documentation resource for protein families, domains and functional sites, to rationalise the complementary efforts of the individual protein signature database projects. The member databases - PRINTS, PROSITE, Pfam, ProDom, SMART and TIGRFAMs - form the InterPro core. Related signatures from each member database are unified into single InterPro entries. Each InterPro entry includes a unique accession number, functional descriptions and literature references, and links are made back to the relevant member database(s). Release 4.0 of InterPro (November 2001) contains 4,691 entries, representing 3,532 families, 1,068 domains, 74 repeats and 15 sites of post-translational modification (PTMs) encoded by different regular expressions, profiles, fingerprints and hidden Markov models (HMMs). Each InterPro entry lists all the matches against SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL (2,141,621 InterPro hits from 586,124 SWISS-PROT and TrEMBL protein sequences). The database is freely accessible for text- and sequence-based searches.